COLLABORATIVE INTERNET OF THINGS (C-IOT). FOR FUTURE SMART CONNECTED LIFE AND BUSINESS (2015)

6
Impact of C-IoT and Tips

6.1 Impact on Business Process Productivity and Smart of Digital Life

Today, Internet of Things (IoT) is affecting our day-to-day interaction with “things” around us and opens the door of possibilities for a more sustainable work environment. In the future, we can expect Collaborative Internet of Things (C-IoT) to generate entirely new job roles and titles and to completely change the way we commute, communicate, and collaborate. How the C-IoT will impact the future of work is divided into the three domains: Individual, Industry, and Infrastructure, which are discussed in the following sections.

6.1.1 Individual

·     New Job Roles. The digital age has ushered in new IT jobs moving from being concerned about installation broadband connectivity to installation and support of complex systems. With the rise of IoT, advance sensing, connectivity, and cloud “big data/analytics” jobs are becoming more specialized than ever. Gartner last year reported that the number of Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) is on the rise, predicting that by 2015, 25% of companies will have one managing their digital goals. The Data Scientist too has become an important asset for companies embracing the value of big data and analytics, and we will begin to see more chief data scientists, analysts, and even chief customer satisfaction officers; moreover, probably some titles we cannot even imagine yet.

·     Productivity at Work. The rise of social has given way to a new age of communications and team collaboration. Value tools such as Box, Skype, and even Facebook have captured the attention of the next-generation workforce. Video collaboration and imaging will take hold as millennials and digital natives rely on text messaging, FaceTime, and even “Hangouts” for true integrative communication at work, saving time, and blurring social tools with modern collaborative work systems.

·     Smarter Water Cooler Chat. Even water coolers can be connected in IoT, making a trip to the water cooler smarter than ever. The water cooler (coffee machine, etc.) can remember personal preferences, be voice and motion activated, and even deliver drinks on demand without the wait (cutting down on the proverbial water cooler chatter).

·     Plan Workdays around the Weather. With a more virtual workforce and flexible workdays, weather can impact team productivity and commute decisions. Today, weather forecasts rely on a few satellites or ground-based weather stations as the primary data gathering points from the sky. In the future, billions of sensors will be integrated in different “listening” devices and stations – both in the sky and on the ground. Using Big Data to better predict the Earth’s “heart beat” will enable more sophisticated and accurate weather and climate change predictions. For commuters, this will mean more accurately predicting rain, sleet, and snow, well in advance, so that we can better plan our workweek, the days we head into the office (and conversely, the nicest days to stay at home) and even how we commute (Rain today? Think I will take the train.).

6.1.2 Industry

·     Physicians at Work. The IoT is going to change the way a physician works too, as well as the patient experience at the physician’s office or in the hospital, and the overall physician–patient relationship. Today, a patient’s condition must still be assessed live in the presence of the physician, face to face. In the future, IoT will enable devices to read data directly from a person’s body, enabling physicians to access real-time patient data remotely. New technology also means that the physician can meet with the patient from halfway around the world, changing the shape of where and how their workday happens.

·     Medical applications are about to undergo massive growth as it becomes increasingly possible to monitor patients with tissue-implantable wireless-linked sensors. This is one of the most important of the emerging wireless technology trends as these applications can potentially improve the quality of life for so many who suffer from a chronic medical condition. For example, a patient with a condition such as diabetes could be monitored continuously. A small implanted sensor could send blood glucose information to a base station via a wireless connection. If the glucose level moved outside a preprogrammed range, the base station would send an alarm to the appropriate caregiver.

·     Imagine a more Efficient Commute. About 15% of commute time is spent in traffic, and about 17% of fuel wasted in cities by drivers sitting at red lights. Sensors on our roads, traffic video cameras, and median divides will impact how our vehicles will “talk” to drivers. By monitoring traffic speed, stoplights, accidents, and current road conditions, programmable cars and even roads will push the most efficient routes to drivers’ mobile devices, cutting down commute time, saving gas money, and ultimately making our roads safer.

·     Proactive Customer Services. After a product is shipped, the interaction between the customer and the vendor usually subsides, at least until the next buying period or a problem arises. Proactive technology can keep a “pulse” on the health of products and “things” to pinpoint issues before they arise. In this era of next-generation customer service, proactive product monitoring means a company can keep customers happy, watch product health around the clock, and avoid any problems.

·     Give Structure to Unstructured Data. “Big Data” is not just big … it is huge. If leveraged well, Big Data can create new value across the business when unstructured data is converted into structured data. Analyzing data and breaking it down into meaningful intelligence and analytics can tell a richer story about customers, product behavior, market position, employee productivity, and even predicted future success.

·     A “Greener” Business. Sensory meters have already seen “light” in a few office buildings and homes today, but this will become a necessity in building standards for modern building infrastructures. Installed movement sensors can turn off/on lighting fixtures, heaters/ac, coffee machines, and even the TV as humans move throughout the space, or go home for the night. These sensors are already integrated into blinds, basing temperature and sunlight for how far they open and close, which can improve energy efficiency and production, saving money and the environment.

·     Location, Location, Location. IoT will make location tracking simpler. Currently done via phones, cars and even in hospitals, Internet-connected equipment and devices will be geographically tagged, saving valuable resources such as time and money. Companies will be able to track every aspect of their business, from inventory to fulfilling orders as quickly as possible to locating and deploying field services and staff. Tools, factories, and vehicles will all be connected by location-based technology making the entire chain ever more efficient.

·     Operational Efficiencies. Data you collect from your factory floor, logistics network, and supply chain can reduce inventory, downtime due to maintenance, and time to market. You can also use that data to simplify operations.

6.1.3 Infrastructure

·     Improved Safety and Security. Sensors and video cameras can help monitor equipment to improve workplace safety and guard against physical threats. Connected incident response can coordinate multiple teams to resolve situations faster.

·     Distributed Intelligence and Control. More frequent, remote software upgrades and enhancements can extend the efficiency and value of your resources, products, and services.

·     Faster and Better Decision Making. Distributing intelligence and control offloads repetitive decisions and can help prioritize decisions that people need to make.

·     New Business Opportunities and Revenue Streams. More and new ways to analyze data can help identify new potential markets and business opportunities.

·     Social networking is set to undergo another transformation with billions of interconnected objects. An interesting development will be using a Twitter-like concept where individual things in the house can periodically tweet creating Tweet of Things (TweetOT). Although this provides a common framework using cloud for information access, a new security paradigm will be required for this to be fully realized.

6.2 Considerations of Developing Differentiated C-IoT Solutions

The IoT can potentially transform nearly every industry and change the way we live and work, locally and globally. Companies in all industries face challenges to build infrastructures that meet the changing requirements of scale and data management, run on standards, and are highly secure and interoperable. IoT partner ecosystem will ensure that client’s migration and connectivity management are done effectively and more securely.

Following is a set of key considerations in developing differentiated C-IoT solutions, which will have an impact on improving business processes and on the quality of our lives and improving business processes.

6.2.1 Software Processes and Platform

Over the last decade, emphasis for product differentiation has been on software. According to some estimates, more than 60% of total Embedded Development resources are spent on software. Hence, many companies have put in place software strategy to help their customers to reduce the total cost of ownership of embedded systems.

To this end, many companies have developed process to encompass the entire embedded software lifecycle management – prototyping, development, and testing – powered by simulated development environment representative of the “target hardware.” This enables a development of a platform with application that can be developed on a wide range of MCU/MPU (micro-controller unit/microprocessor unit) devices, based on customers’ target cost/performance constraints.

6.2.2 Standardization

National and international standards provide a common language not just for physical products and equipment, but they are increasingly important for describing processes, procedures, skills, and metrics. Roadmap participants identified a variety of capabilities that must be established through the development, promotion, and adoption of standards to enable safe, efficient, and interoperable hardware and software systems.

Importance of Standardization can be exemplified in the following two case studies: Containerization and Traceability of order.

6.2.2.1 Containerization

Global-standard, smart, modular, designed-for-logistics containers (replacing current cartons, boxes, and pallets) are needed that can accommodate raw materials and finished goods. These include unit-load, carton, and transportation containers.

These containers should be reusable and reconfigurable, providing the ability to take them apart and combine components to support a variety of sizes and shapes while supporting efficient automated handling.

By 2025, major intermodal hubs throughout the United States should have the ability to handle standardized containers at the unit-load and carton level, plus load/unload integration with freight containers.

6.2.2.2 Cloud-Based Visibility and Traceability of Order

The lack of standards for interoperability of the various applications used in the supply chain causes inefficiencies within and across supply chains. Standardization to support collaboration is needed to provide plug-and-play capability between trade partners. End customers and consumers are increasingly driven by visibility-based decisions that reduce variability and time to deliver.

Great strides have been made to develop transaction standards such as those in electronic data interchange (EDI), but this capability is only in its infancy compared to the standardized interoperability that will be required going forward. Standardized modular interfaces between software systems should support collaboration throughout increasingly virtual organizations. Virtual product models should be easily accessible and modified in the cloud by all pertinent players within a supply chain.

As corporate data systems shift from local physical processing and storage to cloud-based systems, it becomes far easier to develop standardized interfaces between systems of trading partners. Highly customized or in-house developed systems are becoming less common. Instead, systems that provide modular, standardized interfaces to provide for interoperability with trading partners will be more common.

By 2025, most applications accessed by logistics and supply chain professionals should be cloud based and standards compliant.

6.2.3 Sensors and C-IoT

Advances in sensor technology continue, making at least part of the IoT all but inevitable by 2025. To fully realize the vision, sensors must be made smaller and more powerful, allowing them to broadcast farther and in difficult environments such as transportation containers and packages.

Sensors at this scale will create a torrent of raw data that must be converted into useful information. The data will be fully useful only if there are standard, universally defined formats for sensor output. Data from sensors as well as data and information from software packages must be exchanged using common protocols, and not common software platforms, and that data must be shared securely.

6.2.3.1 Standardized Ways of Handling Data from Sensors

A common complaint in the material handling and logistics industry is the need to work with data in different formats. Lack of data format standards requires post-processing for analysis or comparison with other data, and this sometimes requires human intervention. The vision for 2025 includes real-time, automatic control of many pedestrian supply chain decisions (i.e., automating the mundane), which cannot happen without real-time data in standard formats from participating sensors.

By 2025, universally accepted standard data formats for all types of sensors should be established.

6.2.4 Advertising Ecosystem Value Exchange

Today’s digital native teens understand the value exchange of the advertising ecosystem and are willing to share some information about them in order to get relevant content and offers. They are not afraid to share data, and they opt into everything. They understand the model and are actively participating.

It is time for advertisers to start leveraging all that data to see what Analytics 3.0 will enable us to do and come up with innovative ways to use it to reach audiences more effectively.

Devices will soon offer storage and analytical capabilities that will go way beyond what we are dealing with today. Just think of the data on your mobile device. Today, we look at browsing history, great. But what if we combine the browsing history with the location data? That will give us a true story of what was consumed and where.

What if we could evaluate device movement once a page is completed loading? This could give us insights on sharing in real time and space (if I see something interesting, I might hand the phone to my colleagues or family to look at it as well, which will create a unique and measurable motion).

6.2.5 Opportunity with Industry Supply Chain for Material Handling

6.2.5.1 Supply Chain Material Handling

There is a great market opportunities for growth in the coming years.

We live in a highly connected world that is complex and becoming increasingly so. In the midst of this complexity, all the pieces must fit and work together to accommodate continuous and sometimes mind-boggling change.

This is the environment for material handling and logistics in 2014. Material handling and logistics provide the connections that move goods through the supply chain and into consumers’ hands. The impact of the industry on the U.S. economy is extremely broad, touching everything from raw materials at the point of origin to final delivery at the front door of the consumer to recycling and end-of-life disposal.

Trends such as e-commerce and relentless competition are well underway and moving toward maturity. Others, such as Big Data and the IoTs, are in the early stages of development. Each trend has the potential to have a tremendous influence on the material handling and logistics industry in the future.

Sensors, data, and algorithms: imagine a world in which physical objects are able to communicate with people and information systems with low-cost sensors. Imagine a world in which nearly every fact a company needs is available instantaneously. Imagine a world in which sophisticated algorithms make low- and mid-level decisions optimally and automatically, leaving humans to perform tasks that require judgment and intuition. That world will be here by the year 2025.

Forrester Research estimates that online retail will comprise 10% of all US retail sales by 2017, reaching $370 billion, compared to 8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2012 and 2013. The report cites two underlying causes: (i) increasing use of mobile devices, leading consumers to spend more time online and (ii) traditional retailers making greater investments in e-commerce fulfillment and Omni-channel distribution systems. Which is to say, demand and supply are working together to increase the size of the market.

As consumers become more experienced buying online, Forrester says, they typically move from buying relatively small and inexpensive items such as music CDs and books to pricey, more involved purchases, such as furniture and appliances [1].

Order fulfillment for e-commerce is challenging on at least three fronts.

First, delivery directly to consumers requires very fast order fulfillment times. The time to pick, pack, and ship is no longer measured in days or hours but in minutes.

Second, direct-to-consumer order fulfillment involves handling individual items rather than cases or pallets. Such “broken-case” order picking continues to be very labor-intensive and complex.

Third, sophisticated inventory policies are needed to ensure that products are in stock, but without creating excessive (and expensive) safety stock levels.

By 2025, the challenge for the material handling and logistics industry is not only supporting the demands of e-commerce, but providing true, Omni-channel distribution systems to support the wide variety of means through which consumers will demand their products.

By 2025, the material handling and logistics industry must be capable of supporting a highly diverse set of order and distribution channels in keeping with mass customized products and delivery methods. Customers will want to order with their phones, mobile devices, and computers, as well as through traditional retail outlets, kiosks, and perhaps as-yet-unimagined channels. Delivery modes will be just as diverse from time-definite, long-lead-time delivery to next-day delivery, same-day delivery, and even same-hour delivery.

6.2.5.2 Total Supply Chain Visibility

Although systems already exist for customers to track shipments (FedEx, UPS, etc.), the level of detail demanded in the future will be much greater. For example, consumers can already know that a shipment was last located in a transit facility in Phoenix, but not that the shipment is tied up in traffic in Dallas or that it was placed on an earlier flight in Chicago. For commercial shipments between companies, even more precise information will be needed.

Precise location of services could facilitate new modes of delivery to consumers, including delivery directly to an individual rather than to an address. In such settings, consumers would want to know the precise location of delivery drivers, in addition to drivers needing to know the location of the customer.

For companies in the supply chain, visibility is about more than knowing the location of an item. Available data should include current and historical environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to vibration. Other data could also be collected depending on the application.

By 2025, all shipments should be traceable in real time from the instant of order to the instant of delivery, in transit and in facilities, at the level of individual items and independent of carrier and transportation mode.

6.2.5.3 Deployment of GPS Capabilities across Transportation Assets

Essential to accomplishing universal, real-time tracking is the ability to know the precise location of transportation and other material handling assets. Although global positioning system (GPS) technology is currently available, its deployment is still not universal across transportation assets.

By 2025, all transportation assets should be trackable by GPS.

Another need is real-time locator systems (RTLSs), which track and communicate locations of items to tracking systems within a warehouse, for example. Such systems are in their infancy in 2014; by 2025, they should be widely used.

By 2025, RTLSs should be integrated into total supply chain visibility systems for access by supply chain partners and consumers.

6.2.5.4 Development of Arrival Time Estimation Methods

Although knowing where a shipment is located is important, ultimately customers want to know when a shipment will arrive. Needed are techniques to estimate remaining time for delivery. Such methods should account for distance, road conditions, traffic, and ultimately should be able to predict time of arrival within 1% of remaining time. By that standard, the arrival time of a shipment with 24 h remaining could be predicted within about 15 min. Arrival time for a shipment 4 h away could be predicted within 2.5min.

By 2025, arrival time estimation methods should reliably be within 1% of remaining delivery time.

6.2.5.5 Integration of Tracking Capabilities across Carriers and Providers

The very nature of supply chains means tracking information must come from multiple service providers. Coordinating this information will require both technological advances and, more importantly, organizational structures to ensure that the interests of all parties are protected and those validation standards are followed.

By 2025, new protocols should be in place to track individual items throughout their lifecycle, recognizing that individual items might be transformed into other products or shipping units and back again as they make their way along the supply chain.

6.3 Practical Tips on Maintaining Digital Lifestyle

6.3.1 Mobile and Wearable Computing

The Internet has ushered in an information revolution by separating knowledge from its physical manifestation (books) and by allowing worldwide, instantaneous access on personal computers. The most recent advance in the revolution has been to divorce access to knowledge from stationary computing devices. We have arrived at the point in history in which it is possible to acquire knowledge, communicate with others, act on decisions, and engage in commerce at any moment from any location.

Mobile computing is changing the way we live and at a pace that few could have imagined even 10 years ago. In 2006, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone and “the Internet in your pocket.” Just 7 years later in 2013, some 56% of American adults own and use a smart phone. A survey in 2013 reported that 37% of American teens (ages 12–17) have a smart phone, up from 23% in 2011. Three quarters of teens in this age group reported being “mobile Internet users” on cell phones, tablets, or other mobile devices.

Use of mobile location-based services is also on the rise. Embedded GPS capability in mobile devices allows users to gain useful information related to their current locations, but it also allows apps, algorithms, and other users to know where they are. Users appear increasingly willing to offer this location information. For example, a Pew Research Center study reports that 30% of all social media users tag posts with their locations and that “74% of adult smart phone owners ages 18 and older say that they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.”

The next wave in mobile computing appears to be “wearable computing,” in which a computing device or a collection of sensors is embedded in a small, wearable accessory such as eyeglasses, a wristwatch, or even fabric in clothing. Applications are currently used by the health care research community to monitor physiological and environmental data of patients. Google has introduced Google Glass, a small eyeglass-based computer that allows users to access the Internet, record and share audio or video, and interact on social media in real time and hands free. Such devices make possible a life – and workplace – of continuous digital input, sharing, interaction, and recording.

By 2025, Individual, Industry, and Infrastructure must be taking full advantage of mobile computing technologies. For example, constantly connected consumers will demand to know where their shipments are and how much longer they will have to wait for them.

6.3.2 Robotics and Automation

Advances in robotics and automation continue at breakneck speed. While the headlines are mostly filled with innovations in personal electronics and mobile computing, significant advances are also being made in technology related directly to material handling and logistics. Participants in the Roadmap workshops identified several areas that will have a major impact on the industry in 2025 including robotics, autonomous control, driverless vehicles, and wearable computing.

The robotics industry is in the midst of a true revolution as capabilities increase and costs decrease. More than 160 000 robots were sold worldwide in 2012 alone that was increased by 12% to 178 132 units in 2013. The International Federation for Robotics estimates that the global population of industrial robots in 2013 was in the range of 1.3 and 1.6 million units with a market value of $9.5 billion. Although most industrial robots are currently found in manufacturing applications, they are becoming more viable for material handling and logistics applications in the future [2].

An associated technology is autonomous control, in which a vehicle or other device has sufficient intelligence to sense its environment and make independent, local decisions. As the complexity of logistics systems continues to increase in the future, autonomous control and distributed intelligence offer a robust and flexible means of control.

The prospect of driverless trucks is a potentially disruptive technology that could offer significant benefit to the logistics industry. Driverless cars already have been licensed in Nevada, Florida, and California. Significant social and technological obstacles remain, but driverless trucks could reduce the need for truck drivers, improve highway safety, and significantly reduce transportation costs.

By 2025, broadband integration of several of these technologies into innovative and coordinated systems could result in revolutionary change in the industry.

6.3.3 Sensors and C-IoT

In 2009, Kevin Ashton took credit for the phrase “The Internet of Things” as the title of a presentation made to Proctor & Gamble in 1999. Ashton postulated that humans depend on physical things and value them far more than information because things are what we eat, wear, and use in our daily lives. On the other hand, the Internet deals with data and information, and while information about things can help us improve systems, such data must be put into the Internet by humans who have very limited time and attention.

In 1999, Ashton saw radio frequency identification (RFID) as a mechanism by which physical things could directly communicate with the Internet. “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss, and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing, or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”

Since then, the proliferation of embedded sensors that can communicate with the Internet without human intervention is staggering. Consider that today GPS allows real-time tracking of cars and trucks and people through mobile phones. Strain gages rest on structural members of bridges that automatically broadcast critical information to alert highway engineers of potential problems. Vision systems can identify defects in high-speed production environments; so non-complying products can be automatically ejected from the stream prior to shipping. RFID tags attached to shipping containers can record important measurements such as drop forces that the container experiences and a continuous recording of temperature in the container during transit.

Every year, sensor technology is creating smaller and better devices that can “talk” to the Internet without human intervention. The increasing array of functions that these sensors perform is also advancing at an incredible pace, as is the accuracy they can achieve.

A recent McKinsey Quarterly report asserted: “The widespread adoption of the IoTs will take time, but the timeline is advancing, thanks to improvements in underlying technologies. Advances in wireless networking technology and the greater standardization of communications protocols make it possible to collect data from these sensors almost anywhere at any time. Ever-smaller silicon chips for this purpose are gaining new capabilities, while costs, following the pattern of Moore’s Law, are falling.”

By 2025, sensors that automatically communicate with the Internet without human intervention could be almost ubiquitous. Every step of the manufacturing process could have sensors communicating directly with the Internet, so operators would be warned of problems and be told precisely what to do. End-item packages, unit-load containers, and transportation containers could have continuous GPS tracking-optimizing routing and delivery decisions. Containers should have sensors communicating vital information in real time, such as shock and temperature so remedial actions can be made if an unsafe condition is encountered.

6.3.4 Big Data and Predictive Analysis

The term “Big Data” refers to extraordinarily large data sets that companies and other organizations now collect and store about their operations, sales, customers, and nearly any other transaction of interest. How does hurricane activity in the Atlantic or flooding in Texas affect our business? Do customers buy Product A or Product B in Store X? Such information and answer are embedded in Big Data.

The expanding field of data analysis is rooted in classical statistics, but advances in computing power and the availability of massive quantities of data have led to new techniques of data mining and data visualization. Data mining is the science of finding patterns and correlations among (possibly disparate) sets of data. The presence of such patterns can lead to better decisions in logistics and other operations. For example, knowing that customers tend to buy beer and salsa on Fridays during football season can lead grocers to anticipate this demand and be ready to meet it with sufficient stock. New techniques in data visualization allow decision makers to consider large quantities of data very quickly and therefore to make better decisions.

Predictive analytics is a related concept that uses data mining and other techniques to predict the future. It differs from forecasting in that the latter applies mathematical relationships directly to historical data to predict future values (demand, for example), while accounting for variation, trends, and seasonality. Predictive analytics looks for correlation between past, perhaps disparate events, and predicts future events based on current and emerging conditions. For example, the presence of certain terms on social media might portend a shift in demand for fashion items.

By 2025, these techniques will be much more mature, but likely they will not have been fully deployed. Furthermore, exploiting Big Data presupposes that the data are available. Companies are naturally reluctant to share sensitive data that might be of benefit to other parts of the supply chain. The material handling and logistics industry must find ways to make appropriate data available to all who need it, while protecting the interests of owners of that data.

6.3.5 The Changing Workforce

Changing demographics in the United States suggest that the challenge in attracting, training, and keeping an adequate workforce for the future will be even greater by the year 2025. The so-called “baby boomers” will be retiring in droves and will be replaced by fewer workers in the next generation.

Attracting and keeping an adequate workforce will require the field to appeal to a much different workforce than it does today. Women, workers under the age of 35, people with disabilities, and veterans are all primary targets to replace the current workforce. To attract these new people, the industry will need to establish a coordinated effort to position material handling and logistics jobs as rewarding careers that are personally fulfilling with many opportunities to advance.

With respect to skills, there is considerable concern for the existing and future workforce. On the one hand, there is a high rate of change in the technologies used and skills required to operate low-cost supply chains every day. On the other hand, skill sets of new employees at all levels are lacking. Beyond technology skills, other gaps include problem-solving abilities, situational response skills, abstract reasoning, and even basic work ethic. These problems will have to be addressed by secondary and vocational-technical schools.

By 2025, the Industry and Government must have in place new initiatives to find, attract, and retain the workers that are necessary for its success – and do so in the presence of many other industries competing for the same talent.

6.3.6 Sustainability

Since the financial crisis of 2009, businesses understandably have been focused on surviving the shock and getting lean and agile enough to prosper in turbulent times. Talk of sustainable systems has been overwhelmed in the national dialog by other concerns in society, the economy, and international politics.

Consider the most widely accepted definition for sustainable development, which was given by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 and subsequently endorsed by the United Nations at the Earth Summit in 1992: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The underlying principle hardly seems controversial. Every generation wishes to leave the world a better place than it found it. To believe otherwise is to accept inevitable decline.

A commonly accepted framework that applies this definition to business strategies for private and public organizations identifies three main considerations: economic development, environmental preservation, and social development. In the context of supply chain systems, economic development means the creation of economic value for employees, customers, and stakeholders. Environmental preservation addresses the environmental impact of supply chain operations such as effects on local wildlife, solid waste generation, and emission of pollutants. Social development accounts for the effects of supply chain activities on human populations and societies, including positive effects such as education, and negative effects such as pollution on public health.

By 2025, Industry should have developed standard methods of incorporating sustainable development into business plans and operating strategies. Such methods should adhere to the goals of sustainability, while maintaining and even advancing the commercial interests of the industry.

References

1.    [1] Internetretailer https://www.internetretailer.com/2013/03/13/us-e-commerce-grow-13-2013 (accessed 10 December 2014).

2.    [2] IFR http://www.ifr.org/industrial-robots/statistics/ (accessed 10 December 2014).